Wendy Diefenthaler, Counselor
The government is really pushing students to apply for aid with FAFSA on the web. They insist it is a secure site and they have found it to be much quicker with fewer mistakes. You cannot file for aid until January. But to get a head start, you can apply for a PIN (personal identification number - both parents and students need a PIN) to use for an electronic signature when filing. Go to www.pin.ed.gov and click on “apply for pin". Also, you can go to the site www.fafsa.ed.gov and go to "Before Beginning a FAFSA" to help familiarize yourself and to get organized.
Federal forms are in our office but students are being encouraged to apply online at www.fafsa.ed.gov. We also have the college codes you need and they are also online. We'll help with any questions or show you where to get the answers.
Question: If we know we make too much money to qualify for Federal money, should we still do one of these forms?
Answer: Yes. Because the state and colleges use the information to determine their financial aid packages for you. Each college does not want to come up with their own screening forms, so they use the information sent to them from the government (by your permission). They need this information even if it is to help you get a low interest loan.
Scholarship Search Websites
If you are still attending Columbia Central High School and need a transcript for a college or scholarship, see your counselor. If you have already graduated and need a transcript, please click herefor a form that you can print out & complete. You can also send the required information on a separate piece of paper, along with a check payable to “Columbia Central High School” for $3.00.
Transcripts will not be processed with incomplete information or incorrect/missing payment. Please allow 5 business days for processing. Faxing of transcripts is prohibited due to their confidential nature. Questions or requests for additional information should be emailed to: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Students are encouraged to make up failed classes at summer school. Columbia School District runs a summer school if enough students sign up for it. Students always need permission slips from their home school when enrolling in summer school. This helps prevent signing up for the wrong class by mistake. There have been a few years that Columbia School District has not had summer school. Some of our students have attended summer school classes at Jackson Public Schools or Ackerson Lake (Napoleon). You need a permission slip from us to enroll in summer school at another district. Summer School schedules are set in early May. See your counselor for a permission slip at that time.
The following links are for ACT/SAT test prep programs and study guides for students. Many are free.
http://www.amazon.com/ (Search ACT Prep – books are much cheaper to purchase on this site.)
Merit Award Program & MAP Testing
Michigan Merit Award ProgramFor information about eligibility requirements, awardee and non-awardee reports, and student merit award records call 888-95-MERIT or visit www.michigan.gov/meritaward.
Practice MEAP Tests - Go to www.michigan.gov/meap and click on RELEASED ITEMS on the left menu of the page.
Middle School MEAP Testing Which Qualified for Scholarships
The Michigan Office of Scholarships and Grants will be notifying students, who earned scholarship money through middle school testing, regarding their awards late in the summer. They were vague about the deadline in getting that information to you. You can call ahead of time if you need to know sooner. Call (888) 447-2687.
PSAT- This is the practice test for the SAT. There is a charge for this test. It is given to the Juniors who choose to take it during mid-October at CCHS. This is a good opportunity to experience the format of this type of test and it is also the test for academically talented students to possibly qualify for semi-finalist standing for the National Merit Scholarship Program.
We do not recommend that Juniors take the actual ACT or SAT until the spring or summer of their Junior Year.
Military ASVAB- The ASVAB is a multi-aptitude test battery known as the Career Exploration Program. It is available at over 14,000 schools nationwide and is maintained by the Department of Defense. The ASVAB comprises ten individual tests: Word Knowledge, Paragraph Comprehension, Mathematics Knowledge, Arithmetic Reasoning, General Science, Auto and Shop Information, Mechanical Comprehension, Electronics Information, Numerical Operations, and Coding Speed. Not only do you receive scores on each of these individual tests, you also receive composite scores. Composite scores combine individual tests to yield Verbal, Math, and Academic Ability scores. Each ASVAB test area is timed, and the whole test takes about three hours. The ASVAB is the most widely used multiple aptitude test battery in the world. It is not recommended before the Junior year of high school. The ASVAB is usually given at the Jackson Area Career Center in early December. Watch for postings in the newsletter or see your counselor.
AP Testing (Advanced Placement) - For students in AP or advanced classes for possible college credit is available to Juniors and Seniors in May. See your counselor for more information.
Our school participates in a wonderful online program called Career Cruising. Students can search for careers, hear interviews of people in those careers, check out wages, and search for colleges. They can also save information and update their personal Educational Development Plan-EDP. Counselors work with students to learn many aspects of the program. The site is www.careercruising.com. Call someone in the counseling office for the USERNAME and PASSWORD. Students have the Columbia Central HS username and password as well as their own personal username and password to work on their EDP and to save information. Students, if you don’t know yours, see your counselor. We encourage all parents to view their student’s EDP’s (Educational Development Plan) online.
Holland Self-Directed Search
A career exploration device used with 10th grade students through their English class.
www.michigan.gov/careers - (Michigan Career Portal)
FREE college & career education portal - Find career and info on schools offering education and degrees in your field.
Jackson Area Career Center (JACC) - www.jacc-mi.net
JACC provides juniors and seniors vocational and technical training Our students typically spend 3 periods with us with the other half of the day spent in class at JACC.
Seniors wishing to play college level sports next year, especially at division I & II levels, should register with the National Clearinghouse. You may now do so online at www.ncaaclearinghouse.net. It is also a good idea to check with the site to make sure you have taken their required core classes for eligibility (example 4 years of English).